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$5M plan to provide affordable rent to people with housing insecurity awaiting approval from housing department

1 year 4 months 4 days ago Monday, March 20 2023 Mar 20, 2023 March 20, 2023 10:30 PM March 20, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The amount of people experiencing housing insecurity is rising at an alarming rate and state lawmakers are looking to federal dollars for relief. 

According to the Louisiana Balance of State Continuum of Care, the homeless population grew over 26% in 2020 alone and continues to grow.

"We had 814 people that experienced homelessness for the first time. This could be your neighbors, extended family members or someone you know," said interim director of the Office of Community Development Marlee Pittman.

A $5 million funded HOME American Rescue Plan aims to provide people without homes, low income earners and survivors of domestic abuse an affordable place to live.

"The first step is housing, then we can start to tackle all these other things that are also important," Pittman said.

The funding will be spent in different ways, including 50 affordable housing units for rent, at least 30 non-congregate shelter beds and supportive services for those who are experiencing housing insecurity.

"Our goal is to provide 110 housing solutions for 110 people. We know that's not going to take affordable housing units, we know it's going to take creative shelter opportunities and the services to keep them in that housing," Pittman said. 

The project is awaiting approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"Once HUD approves that action plan, which we're really hopeful about, then we start to work with community partners. We're going to put out an application process for housing developers, service providers and mental health professionals to apply for these funds. We'll start working on the contracting process at the city to get these dollars into the community and serving people the way they need to be, and we'll start seeing improvements in the years to come," Pittman said. 

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